Sunday, September 23, 2007

a little bit pear-shaped

OK, we're struggling to make ends meet at the moment*, so it's possible I might lose my net connection for a week or two (though hopefully it won't stretch into three months like last year when we faced a similar cashflow problem...what is it about the month of September ?) Anyway, I might get a chance later to catch up on all the blogs, and get some posts up, before we go offline.

(*and of course, Joe Hockey, it's just cos we're coastal dole bludgers, far too lazy to snap up one of the gazillions of wonderful non-existent jobs available in our town.)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

the only game in town

So, the Liberals have settled the leadership question. And this time they mean it, okay? (Until the next bad poll.)
Kerry O’Brien interviewed John Howard last night. Howard pleaded to govern for up to three more years. Uh, this mightn’t have been the best thing to tell people who keep telling him to go away, they’re bored of him. Like Barnaby Joyce, my thoughts turn to a metaphor of lovers. Of the jilted lover who cannot accept it is over. Vows to change. Reminds you of the good times. Stalks you.
The biggest question went unanswered: Why exactly is Howard so much better than Costello to lead now, given he’s happy for Costello to be PM when, ‘well into’ his next term, he deigns to go. (We're left guessing what 'well into' means, but from his digs at Beattie and Bracks, we must assume it must be more than one year.)
Why not Costello now? If he’s good enough for us in the foreseeable future, surely he’s good enough now. What is he, chopped liver? Oh, that’s right, he is.
If Howard is saying Costello is still not good enough to lead, after all this time, he’s deliberately selling us a dud. He emphasised the team was running for reelection, not just him. In that case, why is it so important that he head it up. Why can’t another team member have a go?
Truth is, I doubt very much that Howard thinks Costello will ever lead. "Over my dead body," is the phrase that leaps to mind. Howard knows that by the time he retires, someone else will have had time to make their mark (or remake it) and oust an unelectable Costello.
Costello is the Liberal Party’s Simon Crean. A man whose sense of entitlement is palpable to the voters but still doesn’t manage to win the public over. And Costello has far more policy baggage on top of that.
Howard claims that if elected again,

...well into my term, I would come to the conclusion that it would be in the best interests of everybody if I retired...

But we are left wondering why it would suddenly then be in the party's best interests to leave. And what if it wasn't? According to the strange logic of his exit formula, wouldn't he have to stay whether he wanted to or not, so long as the party wanted him and it was in their best interests? (Hotel Howard: you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.)
OK, sample people: go forth and cane them again via the polls.
It’s making such great political reality TV.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

what a blast

The other day Conservative columnist Piers Akerman complained,

"Howard has stuck to a mantra about the leadership ever since the question was first raised. He has steadfastly repeated that he will remain leader for as long as his party wishes him to remain. The commentariat, however, seems psychologically incapable of taking him at his word."

Well, Piers, that might be because it clearly is up to Howard: as we've all seen, he has simply refused to go despite his party wanting him out. As Akerman's colleague Paul Kelly writes today, "Howard will have to be dynamited out of the job".

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


g i "A" is for Ava n N A

Oh-oh. I could play with this for hours. Shame my column width makes it wraparound. (Link pinched from Fred.)
How 'bout this:

D O W N W i T H wobbly H O W a R D


Interesting juxtaposition of stories in The Australian newspaper today. In the first story, Britney Spears is panned for her controversial VMA performance. She’s described as being "out of shape" and "no longer boasting [a] buff body". Right beside it, a story about new rules limiting the use of underage models by fashion designers in response to "controversy about the fashion industry’s use of super-thin waifs to advertise clothes." There's a further photo gallery of Spears's performance thanks to News Ltd. Under one photo, the caption has the male dancer saying “Are you serious? I’m not going to lift you!”

No wonder teens have eating disorders. It’s not just the fashion industry. Look how quickly and gleefully the mainstream media describes the healthy-looking, normal shape of a woman as overweight.
I'm no fan of Spears generally, but gimme a woman over a waif any day.

elsewhere: similar thoughts.

Monday, September 10, 2007

rat's aspiration

After I posted this at Surfdom just now, I switched on Lateline in time to see a neatly-combed and scrubbed John Howard vowing he would stay on and win.
What option does he have--publicly wring his hands in anguish? Say, "But how could this be happening? I have the ear of the Australian people!" Of course he will act concerned, but confident. Alert, but not alarmed. He needs to try to harness the power of the self-fulfilling prophecy, after all--fake it til you make it. Naturally he's also trying to trade off the fact that Australians respect tenacity. That may be so, but I doubt the laundry list of complaints that voters have will just magically evaporate.
And the pressure's on, if Glenn Milne is to be believed (Sunday Telegraph, 9/9/07, not apparently available online). He invokes the spectre of the mysterious 'unaligned ministers' who have apparently given Howard a deadline of mere days to shape up or ship out....

shut up and tug that forelock

Sandra Lee writes about 'cultural cringe', seeing this expressed in the "self-flagellators flooding the talkback radio lines moaning about what they saw as Australia's and Prime Minister Howard's misplaced but slavish devotion to the US and President Bush".
I don't understand this argument. Aren't her 'self-flagellators' actually condemning cultural cringe themselves? Aren't they demonstrating pride in our own culture when they criticise the expectation that we swear unquestioning loyalty to another one?

"The Cringers apparently forgot that the alliance and friendship between Australia and the US did not start with Messrs Howard and Bush, nor will it end there."

Precisely why it should be okay to criticise the 'extraordinarily close relationship' the two men have without being accused of being anti-American in general, let alone anti-Australian. Their enmeshed relationship, closer than those Howard has with other delegates, is surely why the US alliance was so salient to the public. Our policies, thanks to Howard, are very closely tied up with Bush's. To criticise the Bush-Howard alliance is the opposite of cultural cringe, I would have thought. Ironically, it's Lee who is embarrassed and cringing at her bolshie compatriots.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

extremist makeover

Impressed with the Chaser's recent APEC stunt, Osama bin Laden unveils his new look:

Breaching Western security should be a breeze now.
(I cut to the Chaser at Surfdom the other day. Oh, and also posted on Condoleezza Rice's Lateline interview while there.)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

imre fondles his full wood

Slow news day, obviously, so Imre Saluszinsky decided to gross us all out. Apparently he wants to "eat something sweet and creamy off [APEC media spokesperson Anne Fulwood's] naked body". As Annabel Crabb put it today, Imre's latest column is "a stomach-turningly, police-callingly explicit account of his own haggard sexual yearnings for poor Anne Fulwood".
What was he thinking drinking?

Friday, September 07, 2007

too true to be good

"Mum," he said. "On the news, they’re just making it up."
"What do you mean, little man?" I asked, thinking gee, he's pretty critically literate for a three year old...
"Cos, well, Mummy," he explained, "they’re pretending the streets are on fire."
"Oh, yeah...I think that was part of some kind of"
Nice reminder of why kids really shouldn't watch the news, even just in the background. If only I could get him to bed earlier...sigh...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

"the reasons teenagers give for trying drugs and what you can say"

Unless you're too busy having conniptions, that is. I had a laugh with my folks today over John Howard's "Tough on Drugs!" promotional booklet which we all received in the post lately. I don't know about your family dynamics when you were a teenager, but parental conniptions were a feature of ours. If I'd dared to pipe up with, "I always wanted to try that stuff!" or maybe even "It made me feel really good!" when busted, I'd only have earnt myself a good ohrfeige*. And, surely, had my ass grounded from here to kingdom come.
At least we can look back and laugh, I guess.
Talking to your kids about drugs is all well and good advice and probably worth the price of this attractive booklet. Just don't expect them to tell you the truth. Unless they're stupid.

*Ohrfeige: German. Literally ear-fig, but (from memory) equates to getting your ears boxed.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

the unbearable heaviness of beings

Browsing my local online paper for jobs just now, I saw this ad:

Irregular casual work in the local area. Current driver's licence essential, with some heavy lifting required.

Insert disturbing mental pictures....Anyway, I guess it rules me out, since I can barely hoist a three year old kid aloft.